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HomeUK NewsUK and France warn Channel risks becoming 'graveyard for children'

UK and France warn Channel risks becoming ‘graveyard for children’

Two young children were among the four people who died off the coast of France after setting sail across the Channel to try to reach the UK

The deaths of two young children, as well as two adults as they attempted to reach the United Kingdom in a migrant boat in the English Channel should be a “wake-up call” for politicians in both the UK and France, charity bosses have said.

A five-year-old and an eight-year-old were among the four people who died when their boat sank off the coast of Dunkirk in northern France on Tuesday.

Another 15 migrants were rescued, with eight suffering hypothermia and two in cardiac arrest, local firefighters said.

French authorities have said further searches are being carried out in the area and the death toll could rise.

This comes after a large search and rescue operation began earlier after the Migrant boat was seen in difficulty near Dunkirk. Two children – aged five and eight – and a man and a woman have died. Fifteen others have been taken to hospital, French officials said.

Clare Moseley, founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, said the “horrifying” incident should be a “wake-up call” for leaders in the UK and France.

“We are grieving for the victims, we stand in sympathy and solidarity with their families and friends,” she said.

“It is cruel and horrifying that, this time, young children are among the victims.”

She added: “We have to provide a safe and legal process by which refugees can have their UK asylum claims heard, that’s the way to put an end to terrifying, dangerous sea crossings and stop tragedy striking again.”

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Charity Save the Children has called for London and Paris to “come up with a joint plan that ensures the safety of vulnerable children and families”.

“The English Channel must not become a graveyard for children,” it warned.

Ms Patel added:

UK and France warn Channel risks becoming 'graveyard for children'
Home Secretary, Priti Patel

“We are in touch with our French counterparts who are leading on the response and have offered whatever support they need as they investigate this incident.”

“This tragic news highlights the dangers that come with crossing the Channel and I will do everything I can to stop callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people.”

This comes after the crew onboard an oil tanker which was involved in a suspected hijacking off the Isle of Wight are now safe, after a swift response from the SBS. Seven people were detained following about 16 Special Boat Service (SBS) commandos boarding the Nave Andromeda on Sunday night in order to regain control of the vessel.

French citizenship minister Marlene Schiappa said she felt “great sadness” in light of the incident.

“Despite the resources of the state, which were all mobilised in the SOS operation, the losses are heavy and the final toll is still uncertain,” she said.

The people on board the migrant boat had been trying to reach the UK despite wind gusts of up to 18mph.

After the vessel was seen in difficulty, French patrol boats and a helicopter were dispatched, as well as civilian boats.

Fifteen people were taken to hospitals in Calais and Dunkirk, according to the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the sinking.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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